Overview

Country Overview

Senegal is in the westernmost part of Africa’s Sahel region, spanning 196,722 km². In 2016/17, the population is estimated at 15.3 million, with the 2013 census (its most recent) placing 23% of it in the greater Dakar region and 40% in other urban areas.

Political Context

Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa, with three peaceful political transitions and four presidents since its independence from France in 1960: Leopold Sedar Senghor (1960–1980), Abdou Diouf (1981–2000), Abdoulaye Wade (2000–2012) and, since March 2012, Macky Sall.

On 20 March 2016, Senegal held a referendum to vote on measures to strengthen its political system. The next presidential election is due in 2019, while legislative elections are planned for 2017.

Economic Overview

Senegal’s macroeconomic performance in 2016 was strong, with economic growth stable at 6.6% after an only slightly lower growth rate of 6.5% in 2015, making Senegal the second fastest growing economy in West Africa behind Côte d’Ivoire, and the fourth fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

Boosted by fishing and agriculture, the primary sector led growth in 2016, its 10% still lower than 18% in 2015. In agriculture, strong outcomes from sectors targeted by government, including groundnuts, rice, and horticulture explain this. Industry accelerated to 6.8% with strong performances by extractives, food, and chemicals, while services—more than half of Senegal’s total GDP—also expanded, though at 5.6%. Service expansion was mainly due to advances in transport and financial services. Reforms and public investment under the Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE), good weather, and affordable oil all help explain this.

Senegal’s current account deficit fell from 7.0% of GDP in 2015 to 6.5% in 2016, as exports increased faster than imports. Lower energy imports partially compensated for higher imports of food and capital goods. Similarly, the fiscal position improved as the government capped recurrent expenditure and increased tax revenue—surpassing 20% of GDP—thus leaving space for public investment. As a result, the fiscal deficit fell from 4.8% of GDP in 2015 to 4.2% in 2016. Public debt increased to 60% of GDP in 2016 from 56.7% in 2015, but the risk of debt distress remains low, according to the latest DSA.

Medium-Term Outlook

The outlook remains favorable. The external current account deficit should stabilize at around 7.0% of GDP as exports continue increasing but grants and remittances fall as a share of GDP. On the fiscal side, consolidation is expected to continue as the country aims to drive the deficit to 3.0% of GDP. The fiscal deficit is expected to fall below 4% of GDP in 2017 despite stronger public investment. Public debt, as a share of GDP, should stabilize at close to 60% of GDP before gradually reducing in the medium-term.

Development Challenges

The implementation of the PSE remains the main challenge. Its structural impact might be lower than expected or delayed by technical restrictions or other evolving priorities. Agriculture volatility, dependent on climate, may affect growth too. Global oil and food prices could recover more rapidly, putting pressure on Senegal’s external balance sheet.

Social Context

Poverty remains high in Senegal, affecting 46.7% of the population. GDP growth is well below the rates necessary for significant poverty reduction, and a growing reliance on capital-intensive exports rather than labor-intensive sectors limits the creation of new jobs.

Inequality is moderate, however, geographic disparities are very pronounced, with almost two out of every three residents considered poor in rural areas, especially in the south, versus one in four in Dakar. Progress has been made on access to education, but a significant number of youth only go to Koranic schools that are not aligned with the public curriculum. President Sall is committed to accelerating the National Family Security Transfer Program (Programme National de Bourses de Sécurité Familial).

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017

World Bank Group Engagement in Senegal

An International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) joint Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the period of 2013-2017 was discussed by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on February 19, 2013. This CPS is fully aligned with the government’s strategy and priorities identified in the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE). Under the CPS, the World Bank Group’s support will be anchored on one foundation: building resilience through a strengthened governance framework that aims to accelerate inclusive growth and employment, and improve service delivery.

As of October 2016, the total commitments for IDA is $922, 400 million. The portfolio is comprised of 19 national IDA projects and seven regional IDA projects. The largest shares of the portfolio are dedicated to agriculture (21%); water, sanitation and flood protection (16.35%); public administration and governance (15.6%); and education (16.04%).

The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) current committed portfolio in Senegal, as of September 2016, is $138.2 million while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency’s (MIGA) gross exposure in Senegal was $326.3 million.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017

The World Bank Group has contributed to Senegal’s development performance in the following sectors:

Water and Sanitation

The World Bank has supported Senegal for nearly two decades in the water and sanitation sector through three Successive projects: the Water Sector Project, the Long Term Water Sector Project (PELT), and the on-going Water and Sanitation Millennium Project (PEPAM). A follow-up operation is planned under the new Country Partnership Strategy. The World Bank’s intervention to-date has yielded the following results:

In urban areas, 206,160 people have gained access to piped water and 82,260 people have had access to improved sanitation services.

In rural areas, 172,370 people have gained access to safe drinking water, while 193,730 additional people have gained access to improved sanitation services.

Agriculture

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), a regional project involving 13 countries, has yielded the following results in Senegal:

423,000 agricultural producers and agro-processors in Senegal benefited from the development, dissemination, and adoption of improved agricultural technologies from 2012 to 2015, of which 38% women.

WAAPP enabled agricultural research to work effectively and generate 14 new high-yielding, early maturing and drought-resistant varieties of millet, sorghum, and cowpea to build climate-smart agriculture. It also upgraded core facilities, equipment and human capacity of the National Center of Specialization.

WAAPP succeeded in implementing an important fellowship program for young agricultural researchers which has resulted in 170 fellowships of which 99 are for PhDs and 71 are for Masters degrees. The program seeks to strengthen the development of scientific careers for young researchers, to fill the gaps observed in some research field areas, and to replace the aging researchers.

An E-subsidy platform was developed to increase efficiency and transparency in the distribution of subsidized inputs with about 800,000 farmers registered so far out of a goal of one million.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017

Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal. Considerable progress has been made in recent years in order to streamline development assistance in Senegal, as consistent with the principles articulated in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017


LENDING

Senegal: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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